Cocoa farmer, Dominican Republic

Credits: © Fairtrade Foundation / Julia Powell

Ovidia Rosario, seen here with her husband Ovispo, is a cocoa farmer in the Dominican Republic. She has four children, and is 70 years old. Despite being desperately poor, she has been sustained by membership of a co-operative that serves the Fairtrade market.

Ovidia and Ovispo sell all of their cocoa to their farmers' association, a member of the Conacado farmer's co-operative. Less than half reaches the Fairtrade market, because as yet there is insufficient consumer demand. For this part of their crop, the farmers receive a guaranteed minimum price. The remaining cocoa is sold to the conventional market where prices have been very low, below the cost of production, for over two years. They have been earning an average of about 2,500 pesos (US$ 350) a month which just about covers their costs and allows them living expenses. There is no money left over, but if there was, Ovidia would like to save it to make improvements to their home. The Fairtrade price has sustained them during long periods of low market prices. Sales to the Fairtrade market have enabled Conacado to set up a nursery, which supplies low-cost plants to the farmers, so they can grow most of their own food.

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